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News: Top Stories

Miami Coast Guard crew intercepts 50 Haitian migrants who were on a makeshift boat

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 5/26/2019 By Howard Cohen, The Miami Herald
A Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered (WPC-1104) small boat crew approaches a 30-foot panga vessel with 50 Haitian migrants aboard approximately 46 miles north of Cap Haïtien, Haiti, May 20, 2019. © USCGSoutheast via Twitter A Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered (WPC-1104) small boat crew approaches a 30-foot panga vessel with 50 Haitian migrants aboard approximately 46 miles north of Cap Haïtien, Haiti, May 20, 2019.

The Coast Guard intercepted 50 Haitian migrants on an overloaded boat and sent them back to the island.

The Coast Guard’s Robert Yered crew spotted the 30-foot panga boat about 46 miles north of Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, on Monday at 5:35 p.m.

The Coast Guard’s smallboat crew boarded the vessel and found 36 Haitian men and 14 Haitian women aboard the rickety boat.

“Bottom line is these voyages put lives at unnecessary risk,” said Capt. Jason Ryan, Coast Guard 7th District chief of enforcement, in a statement Saturday. “These voyages often involve ill-advised agreements with smugglers on poorly equipped, makeshift vessels that are prone to capsizing, leading to loss of life. This humanitarian mission is a priority of the Coast Guard and its foreign and domestic partners.”

Ryan said missions like this interdiction strengthens the Coast Guard’s “presence in the region” and stops “these illegal activities from occurring, putting safety at sea first.”

After the Robert Yered crew removed the men and women from the boat, they sank it to prevent a hazard to navigation, Ryan said. The Robert Yered is a 154-foot sentinel class cutter with a home port in Miami.

A Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant (WMEC-617) crew from Port Canaveral transferred the 50 people back to Haiti on its 210-foot medium endurance cutter.

According to the Coast Guard, about 2,474 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally enter the U.S. by sea since May 20, compared to the same period in 2018 when 2,727 Haitian migrants tried a similar voyage.

“These numbers represent the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings, and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean, and Atlantic. Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention,” the news release said.

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©2019 Miami Herald

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